French President Nicolas Sarkozy plans to introduce a ban that prohibits the wearing of the full veil in public places.
In an address to his cabinet, Sarkozy said he would introduce legislation in May that categorically bans the niqab, the full veil worn by some Muslim women, in all public places. Previous proposals had limited the scope of public areas off-limits to those donning the veil, in which only the eyes remain uncovered.
The veil “hurts the dignity of women and is not acceptable in French society,” a presidential spokesman, Luc Chatel, quoted Sarkozy as saying. “We’re legislating for the future. Wearing a full veil is a sign of a community closing in on itself and a rejection of our values.”
Polls show a majority of French voters back some sort of veil ban, but legal authorities have warned that such a law may lack a constitutional basis.